Why must the insightful carry the greatest weight?
in their teeth like a bit crunching down until they break
teeth all over the place, white against the dark
enamel lasts long after we are gone
your words are never broken Iris
the love others held for you cannot be undone
by spectacle or ire, you are immune now
as beautiful as you were in life your memory not forgotten
eulogized in statues and prophecy, courage in bronze
such is the legacy of those who live to help others
you shone a light where no light had been shone
perhaps it invited unbidden demons and the silk worm
perhaps it made you mad and rageful in Louisville
who can say what fuse is lit, how long it burns or
whether others haunt us to our fatal choice?
but who would not feel horror when unveiled
the gruesome atrocity of what humans are capable
your Nanking chronicles, bravely revealed
blowing your silver whistle over lies
whether secret hands held you down
commanding, speak not, no more truth released
or you became absorbed in the tragedy you wrote
my hope is you gaze down, aware of the love held
your beautiful face gracing the cover of your mom’s book
a legacy unfurling, one step, two, ever more
you will always rise higher than you thought
such is the way of the guide
needing sometimes to turn from her gift back to the world
to see the beauty held in their own
“The woman who could not forget: Iris Chang before and beyond The Rape of Nanking by Ying-Ying Chang (mom) and The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang.”
part of the hash-tag #unsung (heroes) series.